Page last updated at 00:52 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

London council tax to 'rise 1.2%'

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Londoners are expected to receive one of the lowest council tax rises across England, according to new figures.

Average council tax rises in the capital will be 1.2%, a figure which includes the Greater London Authority (GLA) precept, London Councils said.

The average Band D London resident will pay £1,307.55 a year in council tax.

Two councils, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham, plan to cut council tax, while more than a third are expected to freeze current levels.

'Careful management'

The average council tax rise across England is forecast to be 3%.

London Councils said authorities' "careful financial management" had enabled them to deliver £376m of efficiency savings for the year 2008/09, beating government targets by nearly £100m.

"London's local authorities have led the country in delivering efficiency savings and value for money services, and have far exceeded any targets set for them by central government," said London Council's chairman Merrick Cockell.

Hammersmith & Fulham has cut more than £13m in red tape by reducing staff numbers and office space and by making better use of IT.

More than £10m of efficiency savings have been achieved at Lambeth Council, which has restructured staff in one department and reduced its wage bill for agency staff from £4m to £1m.

At Southwark, the borough hopes to save up to £35m over three years by "careful spending decisions" and relocating staff.

Authorities are expected to ratify individual budgets next month.

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